Friday, August 31, 2012

Karen Elkin & Gus, Bobby, and Finlay

Who is in the photo at right?

Hi! I’m Karen Elkin, happily retired for the last 5 years, but still busy looking after home, husband and most important of all - 3 Scottie dogs. We have three boys. Gus is now thirteen, Bobby and Finlay are both nine years old. [Update: Gus sadly passed away this summer.] They are full brothers, but born 4 years apart. Sitting with me is Bobby. I can never sit outside on a chair without him needing to join me. At least one of us is comfortable!

What's the occasion for Coffee with a Canine?

It’s part of the usual morning routine: Take Scotties for hour plus walk around our local countryside and immediately upon returning, brew a pot of coffee. Every day. Without fail!

What's brewing?

Because I drink black coffee I prefer it filtered. I sample quite a few, but this week I’m drinking a “Fairtrade” Colombian Roast and Ground Coffee.

Any treats for you or your dogs on this occasion?

After the boys “half baths” they get a treat. I alternate each day with either a Bonio biscuit or a whole carrot each. Here they are, still wrapped up in their towels, with Bobby draped over the back of Gus!

How were you and your dogs united?

When our house was populated with girlie scotties I used to breed them. Gus, Bobby and Finlay are the product of those beautiful creations!

How did your dogs get their names? Any aliases?

Our Scotties have always had Scottish Names and therefore we couldn’t have a boy dog without him being called Angus, or Gus for short. He doesn’t actually answer to Angus as he’s practically always been called Gus. Bobby was named after Greyfriars Bobby, the book written by Eleanor Atkinson. I know there’s doubt over whether “Greyfriars Bobby” was a Scottie, Cairn or Skye Terrier, but we’re gonna believe he was a Scottie! And Finlay, well, such a lovely name for a lovely little boy - who’s since grown up to be a lovely little man. No real aliases, other than the usual ones like Bobba, Findal, Fingal, Gussiedog....

Do your dogs have a favorite place to go for an outing?

Gus loves to walk around our Nature Reserve. Sniffing every single blade of grass! Takes hours to do a circuit - but what better way to start any day! Finlay prefers our Reservoir walk, lots of twisty paths and the possible hope of stumbling across a squirrel. And Bobby, well Bobby loves all walks, or rather “runs” as he runs every where, forwards, backwards, sideways; he must run twice as far as the rest of us on our walk!

Squeaky toy, ball, stick...?

Usually any squeaky toy is destroyed within minutes. Their poor de-stuffed bodies laying around the house for a few days. However, there one stuffed toy that Finlay cherishes. We call it his “baby.” It sits on the settee with him and when he feels the need, he’ll reach over and pick up the stuffed toy and gentle “clean it” by licking it for hours! Gus, on the other hand prefers Tennis Balls. They last about 5 minutes on a good day. And there’re bits of rubber scattered about the place.

Squirrel, postman, cat...?

It's the squirrels for Bobby and Finlay. Gus is too interested in sniffing the grass. We always walk around the countryside, seldom on the pavements and we’ve developed a game/competition. It’s bi-peds versus quadrupeds in finding out who can spot the most squirrels on a walk - and usually it's the Scotties that win!

Who are your dogs' best pet-pals?

They are all their own best friends. Although we regularly meet up with their brother (William, Gus’ litter brother) and niece (Poppy, one of their sadly departed sister’s offspring) for a “clan walk.”

Here [photo left] you can see 5 Sparhawk Scotties: from left to right William, Gus, Finlay, Bobby (all brothers) and their niece Poppy!

What is each dog's best quality?

Gus: He’s a gentle giant. When Bobby & Finlay are barking at other dogs on our walks, Gus will just walk up to the dog, with his rudder-like tail swaying merrily and greet the other dog as a friend, then move on - such a balanced lad!

Bobby: He loves to learn. We did obedience training together for a couple of years and he took to it like a “duck to water.” We did a demonstration to Scottie Breed club once, and boy were they surprised - a Scottie that was obedient and trained - never!

Finlay: He’s the a-typical Scottie lad - a lap dog. He’s also extremely loyal, especially on walks. He’ll stay by my side whilst I’m looking at the wildlife, waiting for me to move on to catch up with the other two who have become bored and carried on wandering!

If your dogs could change one thing about you, what would it be?

To forget about grooming. They despise it. Despite Bobby and Finlay doing a stint as show dogs for a couple of years where they were groomed practically every day, they will hide away when they see the grooming bag emerge.

If your dogs could speak in the movie about your life, who should do their voices?

Keeping with the Scottish tradition, I’ve gone for the following:

Gus: Sean Connery.

Bobby: Billy Connolly

Finlay: Gerard Butler

Visit the Sparhawk Scotties website.

--Marshal Zeringue

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